Winter: Great Time to Practice Target Shooting and Hunting at Lake Texoma

Fall begins hunting season for deer and other game and then game bird seasons open up in Oklahoma and Texas. Off-season at Lake Texoma starts after Labor Day. What if you do not hunt and you are more into self-defense? Lake Texoma is a great place to practice target shooting in the off-season in North Texas. 

There are plenty of places like U.S. Army Corps of Engineer properties and Wildlife Management Areas to target practice on for free at Lake Texoma. You need hunting permits for the Tishomingo and Hagerman Wildlife Refuges. To keep their skills sharp, marksman need to train to shoot accurately in cold weather. However, cold air weighs more than warm air.

We can thank military experience and research for our understanding of how cold weather affects several aspects of firearms and their functions. For the most part, Texomaland rarely sees sub-zero temperatures. Temperature affects ammunition behavior and care of your weapon.

What Happens When We Shoot in Cold Weather?

Fingers and toes do not work as well in extended periods of cooler and cold temperatures. Nerves play a part of blood supply to these extremities and restrict blood supplies to prevent heat loss to the body. Mittens and gloves inhibit dexterity when shooting, and clumsily handling a gun is dangerous.

Before you trek off, ready your firearm for cold, damp/wet weather. Guns misbehave when moisture creeps into them. Snow, ice, rain, and condensation can cause gun oils one uses in warm weather to gel up, leading to misfires. It may only take a drop or two of wetness to gum up a bolt assembly, firing pin, or trigger. 

If you take a break from shooting and take your gun into a warm house or tent, you gun can quickly melt leftover moisture into a problem when you head out to the cold again. This condensation can fog up optics, and especially older optics. Also, in newer optical devices, you will not notice microscopic punctures in them.  

Metals contract, and glass and plastics harden and become brittle in a prolonged cold environment. Rubber, depending on its composition, will either expand or contract. A scope’s internal materials can deteriorate while going through cold to warm to cold to warm environments. Even heat a shooter exhales can fog glass on a scope. 

Even when traveling to your shooting destination in cold weather, store your guns away from the vehicle’s heater. All put together, these climatic elements will impact the accuracy of your shot. With scopes, guns, and everything else that you carry to hunt or target shoot, the rule of thumb is to invest in high quality products built for durability. 

Cold weather can wipe out your bullet’s or shell’s trajectory. Cold air slows them down. Most shooters will never need a gun chronograph. A ballistic chronograph measures the speed of the bullet when it leaves the gun barrel. Also, you can estimate the flight path of your projectile. Chronographing a gun in August will prove a different bullet speed than in January. 

Although, these problems typically arise in severe cold conditions, damp conditions are unavoidable in North Central Texas in the winter. You cannot keep your fingers warm once the temperature drops to freezing or below. Even in milder U.S. climates, it is crucial to keep your firearms in good condition for winter shooting. 

How Winter Shooters Protect Their Guns and Selves

Hunters can opt for three-finger gloves and hand warmers or liner gloves. Three-finger gloves put the pinkie, ring, and middle finger together, and the pointer finger and thumb are separated. Choose hand wear for shooting that will not restrict your circulation and give enough room to move hands and fingers.

Avid shooters clean their guns in the winter with a gun cleaner that removes all traces of oil. Clean the trigger group, bolt, and firing pin. Clean your gun with something that removes powder residue, grease, oil, and other debris, especially those used in warm conditions. Include the trigger group, bolt, and firing pin. Most outfitters carry cold weather gun cleaning solutions. 

Unfortunately, coffee, alcohol, and smoking restrict blood flow, and mammals become colder faster, beginning with extremities. We do not know of any shooter that turns down coffee on a cold winter morning or commonly, a beer at the nighttime campfire. So, only be aware what effects these habits cause. 

For the muzzle, shooters use a waterproof sleeve cover, or cover the muzzle with electric tape over the top and around the tape on the shooting end of the barrel. Shooting ranges do not rent chronographs. Ballistic chronograph prices range from under $50 to good quality ones over $100 and much higher. 

Practice makes perfect. That is so true. If you do not hunt, weather conditions can greatly affect your shooting performance. If you opt for shooting in public hunting areas, wear hunter orange, follow all state laws and local codes, and only shoot with legal weapons edicted by hunting season regulations.

Check out this map of public hunting areas in Texomaland

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Lake Texoma Weather Forecast


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 75

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 55


Partly Sunny

Hi: 77

Wednesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 59


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 69

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 48



Hi: 66

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 48

Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 2/20: 616.37 (-0.63)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 14)

GOOD. Water normal stain; 38-41 degrees; 0.06 feet below pool. Striped bass are fair on flukes drifting 35-45 feet of water near the rivers as we get closer to the spawn. Slow rolling swimbaits in coves and on points in 8-15 feet of water are still working for bigger fish. Glow and smoked shad are colors of choice. Crappie are slow on minnows in 10-12 feet of water on brush and dock piles. Look for the fish to move into the coves and creeks with the warmer weather. Catfish are slow on dead shad drifting 30-40 feet of water on ledges for keeper size fish. Bigger fish are shallow, look for dirty warmer water with inflow from rains. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on swimbaits in stumps on points in 8-12 feet of water, and swimbaits along the bluffs in the backs of the coves on warmer days. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Striped bass are starting to gorge on bait, so fish can be slow to bite but overall the bite is good. The most active bite in 3-30 feet of water on the humps and ledges using Alabama rigs, swimbaits, and some anglers are having success long lining. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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